Writing on the Road

No, seriously. I'm writing with I-95 zipping beneath me. With earphones in, I'm writing to you all with Washington, D.C. whizzing past my open window.

I think I've fallen in love with my job. Let's be honest, the Super 8 was not providing the adventure I expected. But now, I can feel the adventure. I can feel the freedom of what I'm doing. I am so thrilled to feel good.

Oh, I drove the RV today. For a long while, I steered our home from Williamsburg to a Flying J near D.C. Not too shabby, I don't think. We dumped our tank, which is not fun but feels like a fair trade.

Currently, I'm looking out the window to see a very industrial scene. It all looks new, you know? Well, new to me. I think that is why I'm feeling so excited, this is all so new. I promise you, things look different. Snap! I'm now on a drawbridge. This is rich. I'm not. But, this is.

Washington Monument out my left window. And, I feel good.


I may be a local

Tonight, I was reading Women in Love by D.H. Lawrence at a coffee shop in Colonial Williamsburg. I sat outside to read/people watch. A large group of teenage girls approached with two adults. Immediately, I saw my delightful time with a cappuccino and a stellar book exchanged for constant chatter and smack talk. Unfortunately, I think I have a prejudice against teenage girls as I find them the most irritating of all social groups.

Anyway, the two adults asked me if I was a local. I hesitated and said, "Well, yeah, I guess." I think this made me look dumb. They then asked me for some recommendations about food. I gave them five. Five. I've been two five restaurants in town. I'm able to give decent recommendations. I can't imagine being a local in any city other than my home. This makes me think, "how does home change?" or "does home ever change?"

Granted, I'll be leaving Williamsburg in a week, so this question isn't all that pertinent. But, right now, home is where my parents are. Am I adult if home is where my parents are? I don't know about that and I guess I don't really care because my parents rock.

So, thoughts of home. Not surprised that issues of home are in my mind since I live on a Super 8/RV.

On Saturday night, I was all by myself. I said, "Bump this, I'm going out." And so, I got dressed up (put on jeans) and went out to a swank French restaurant in Colonial Williamsburg. I ordered myself a bowl of French onion soup and considered myself a young professional, if for only one night. It was a nice night. Being alone doesn't always feel lonely, you know?


Slowly sinking into this life

I've been here for a while now. Long enough for me to identify as "the guy who lives in the Super 8".

A lot of things have happened recently. I learned to drive the RV. It isn't anywhere near as difficult as you'd think. But, hitting cones feels a little less serious than hitting people, so maybe I have a distorted impression. Luckily, the training made me feel much more comfortable driving the RV. This is good as driving will be a large part of my life in the coming months.

I was lucky enough to be paid a visit by my fantastic girlfriend this past weekend. We sang Karaoke (Born to Run), made a big mistake (Irish Coffee means whiskey), met a celebrity (Miss Czech Society of America), were really hot (Colonial Williamsburg), and flew through the sky with a big girl in a bikini top (Busch Gardens). It was a wonderful to feel connected again. I think you know yourself more when you're with someone who knows you. Right?

I miss everything back home. I miss sitting in class. I miss Krannert and chatting with so many great people. I miss talent shows. I miss seeing people fall. I miss fruit in the Dining Hall. I miss driving stretch. I miss lame Berry weekends that really weren't lame at all. I miss a lot of things.

I'm watching a lot of the Office. Pam and Jim are close friends now.


Grace, like a bus, will arrive

I decided to hop on public transportation a couple days ago. I thought it'd be a grand chance for me to explore Williamsburg while also connecting in a very real way with the community in which I now live.

I get like that. Really idealistic without actually understanding my idealistic choices. This could be used to explain my current Super 8 situation. So, feeling really noble and super communal, I sit at a bus stop. A bus appeared after about twenty minutes of strained conversation with a Russian woman. I learned something once I boarded: apparently, buses have routes. They aren't cabs. Unfortunate. In the spirit of adventure, I stayed on the bus even though I was a little confused (no clue) on where it was heading.

It took me to the hub. The transportation center. And, for whatever poorly thought out reason, I got out. I got out and stood, waiting for the bus of magic to come, pick me up, and take me to my dreams. It didn't. I was alone. It started raining a lot. Up until this point, it hadn't rained in Williamsburg during my time here. It rains, for the first time, while I stand alone miles from my hotel waiting for something (I had lost hope in the bus). Because of my failing hope in the bus, I also thought "I've lost hope in my government." If they can't get me to Panera, can they really win a war or end poverty or improve health care or education or rising prison rates? Yeah, it's frightening.

I chuckled. That was grace.

And, a bus arrived. Took me somewhere decent. And, my faith was restored in the government. Or, at least the buses.

Grace has been popping up in my life almost as sporadically as the bus. And, so far, I can count on this truth: Like the bus, grace will arrive. I just have no idea when or where it'll take me.

I'm down with that.


A mind, body connection?

I threw up a lot on Sunday.

We aren't talking a little vomit to start the day. We're talking from 7 to 7, I was the most efficient vomit producing factory on the east coast. And, so I wonder- did my mind tell my body to throw up a lot in order to teach me something about this transitional time?

Or, was it the Wok-n-Roll Chinese buffet I had for lunch the previous day?

I'm not sure, but there are more learnings to be had from the first. I'm stressed, I'm nervous, I'm poor like you've never seen, and I'm just dying to make a difference while trying to be cool all the while. My mind told my body to throw that all up. And, so I did.

I'm vomiting up my desire to be cool that ranks above my desire to be myself. I'm vomiting up the fear of being poor and ingesting the richness of justice. I'm vomiting up missing my friends and family and serving myself a big ol' helping of right here and right now.


Summer Camp of the Strange

Today, I thought aloud while walking with my cohorts "this is a lot like summer camp". Let me explain, I'm bunking up with three strangers, committing the sunlight hours of my day to learning and crafts and then spending the night bonding with my bunk mates...and it's all taking place during the summer. To add to this feeling, I'm staying in a very much, cabin-like setting- the Super 8. Cabin-like in the sense that I'm not positive things are clean, sturdy, and there may be ghosts lurking with the moonlight.

But, this is no ordinary summer camp. It is indeed the Summer Camp of the Strange. Today, after chatting with a head counselor (John Foubert, professor, founder of One in Four, and awesome anti-porn scholar), we took a little feild trip to visit a nurse examiner. Not too typical. For an hour, we listend to a detailed explanation of a rape-kit procedure and numerous horrendous stories about the every day encounters of a Forensice Nurse Examiner (S.A.N.E.). Yeah, bummer. After suffering through a terrifying ordeal, rape vicitms, in order to see justice, must undergo severe poking and prodding complete with cameras and speculums. As we left, I looked to her and said, "I'll try my best to make your job a little easier". And, I meant it.

In this time, my faith is realy flourishing. I feel God pumping through my veins, telling me that this is where I need to be. Grace is pouring down from the sky and I am thrilled to take that grace to the ears of so many hurting people. Tonight, the moon was a dull orange and a perfect circle. Grace, grace in the fact that I can look into the sky above Williamsburg, VA and see the artistry of God. It is good to serve this God of grace.

I had a cup of coffee with Anne Lammott today, well, not really. I read her book in the Books-a-Million across the street with a mediocre cup of iced joe. But, she said something to me in this intimate time together that really resonated. "You've got to love this about God- consistantly assembling the motleyest people to bring into the lonely and frightening world a commitment to care and community." Well, I think we can all agree that I am pretty motley. But, in this motley heart of mine God has placed a beatuiful commitment for care and community. Again, I see grace. I don't deserve to feel so strongly, but I thank God I do. I thank God I get to be God's hands and voice in this beautiful but broken world.

I'm connecting brilliantly with all the guys. Each has a burning heart to see rape end. Isn't that enough to love them? Yeah, but luckily they are also way fun.

Goodnight to you all. Thank you for your commitment to care and community.


Man, this is weird.

I woke up in a Super 8. Yep. And, there's an RV parked outside that will be my home for a year. This is really strange. I woke up this morning painfully aware of how strange this is.

Strange but good. This morning I'm giving the presentation for the first time (practice only). This is the presentation I'll be giving to thousands of me over the course of my time with One in Four. The presentation is good and very true. Chock full of statistics and rape-myth debunking logic, I really think it has the potential to change a lot of minds.

Williamsburg, city of pedestrians. I''m talking streets are full of wandering teens. Where are they going? And, with such sad faces and wet bathing suits? I think they all wander because they are wildly upset that their family's summer vacation was to a historic mecca rather than Panama City. Somethings I've notice about the city so far: it's way hot, got plenty of cheap hotels, and, for the summer only, has a huge amount of foreign labor.

I went to bed last night thinking about women I love. I've been so lucky to be engaged in a great deal of relationships with amazing women. As I lay down in this Super 8 bed and eat granola bars, I think: I'm proud to do this for them, for all those women I love.